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Rider Insider: Side Effects of Horses

What unexpected side effects have you experienced from your involvement with horses?

By Horse Illustrated Staff - @HI_mag | July 28, 2014

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Horse-Riding Friends
Side effects of horses may include: Health; happiness; friendship; the uncontrollable desire to get outside and ride.


There's a popular short humor piece that has been circulating the Internet since as far back as 2001 titled "Potential Danger of Horse Hair." It begins:

The National Institute of Health has announced the discovery of a potentially dangerous substance in the hair of horses. This substance, called "amobacter equuii" has been linked with the following symptoms in females:

  • Reluctance to cook, clean or do housework.
  • Reluctance to wear make-up, good clothes or heels.
  • Reluctance to spend money on home or car repairs until after "baby has new shoes, pad, blanket, tack, grain, hay & supplements."

And while this is a humor piece, we'd argue that time spent with horses does, in fact, have side effects for both men and women, and most of them are positive.

For example, spending time at the barn, on the show circuit or at local saddle club events could lead to an expanded social circle. There are even reports of afflicted people meeting their best friend or significant other through their involvement with equines.

The psychological effects of horses are well-documented. Time with a horse can replace feelings of sadness or anxiety with peace and contentedness. Many riders find that they have a new sense of confidence once they discover they are able to work with a 1,000-pound animal, and that confidence spills over into their life outside the barn.

In order to feed their addiction, some equestrians even cite improved fitness, weight management and a desire to spend time outdoors and away from electronic entertainment as they pursue their need to become a better rider.

We want to know what side effects you've experienced from riding or being around horses. Click "Submit a Comment" below and share your thoughts. Some of the editors' favorites will be published in an upcoming issue of Horse Illustrated!

This month, Noble Outfitters is sponsoring the Rider Insider column in Horse Illustrated with a prize for the selected featured response. If you'd like to be considered for a prize, make sure to include your contact info in the email field of the comment form (emails will not be publicly displayed.)

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Reader Comments

Riley    Albion, NY

4/2/2015 6:34:16 PM

A side affect of riding horses, especially when you can't be at the barn every minute is that your family jokes that away from the barn you suffer from "Horse Withdrawal".

Olivia    Deerfield, IL

9/30/2014 2:15:37 PM

I have always been shy around people, although I feel much more comfortable with animals. Ever since I started riding, I have become a more outgoing person, and also a better one. I'm able to make better decisions after a day at the barn because a ride relaxes me and clears my head. I have made many new friends as well; my riding buddies, show friends, my trainer, other boarders at the barn, and of course horses! I feel like horses teach us and help us; they teach us how to live and love, and help us back up when we fall. Horses are the best healers, companions, and teachers the world has to offer.

Anonymous    International

9/27/2014 9:50:50 PM

I have noticed that a lot of times, I walk into a clothing store and I'm the only one who is wearing a ponytail, a normal shirt, and worn-out jeans because those have become the best horse clothes!

Linda    Machesney Park, IL

9/23/2014 12:16:04 PM

This article is so true. 20 yrs.ago,I was beaten,and assaulted. I lost every ounce of happiness, self esteem, confidence, caring for anything. Then a friend of mine and her husband got me into distance riding. I bought my own horse, rode day in, day out. Learned to ride, learned to care, learned self confidence. Made new friends, and gained a life long best friend in my mare. She didnt care what I wasn't, she only cared what I was. She saw me much differntly than I saw myself. She believed we could do it, and we did. She's 31 yrs.old now, and retired on my farm. She's still the love of my life, and the saver of my soul. We walk around the farm together and work everything out. The kids ride her, and she loves it. I have a new mount, but no horse will ever take her place.

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